Before 2004 Lowerhouse Cricket Club hadn’t won a thing - now they’re harbouring all three Lancashire League trophies.
Almost a decade ago Charlie Cottam and Chris Bleazard teamed up to put the perennial ‘Cinderella’ tag to rest as they fired respective knocks of 82 and an unbeaten 101 to earn a six-wicket win over Haslingden in the Worsley Cup final at Liverpool Road.
And that evening proved the catalyst of the club’s seismic evolution with the aforementioned pair being present in coach Paul Stansfield’s starting XI as the West Enders added the Twenty20 crown to last season’s league and cup double.
That was the final piece of the jigsaw and an integral piece that portrayed the natural progression and development of the club and highlighted its sturdy foundations.
Where Bleazard had been the hero in accruing ‘House’s first piece of silverware, it was his nephew Ben Heap that provided the fire-power to help overthrow Ramsbottom who had won the competition three years running.
More than a thousand people were in attendance to watch the 25-year-old hammer 79 of his side’s 171-run total before he was bowled by visiting South African pro Pieter Malan.
Heap’s composed innings found a balance after the hosts had suffered an early wobble. Once Andy Hakin had sent Jonny Whitehead’s wicket stumbling, and pro Francois Haasbroek was run out, Lowerhouse were 27-2. However, Heap helped ‘House climb in to the hundreds as he smashed four sixes and 10 fours after facing just 35 deliveries.
While others barely scraped double figures, Joey Hawke contributed a knock of 22 when coming in at number six to strengthen the home side’s stranglehold.
In the reply, Ramsbottom’s openers of Malan and Stephen Dearden began potently finding the boundaries of the Neville Gee Recruitment Ground with ease.
However, once that partnership was broken with the latter being bowled and caught by Hawke, the champions crumbled.
Again it was the youngsters that stepped up and conveyed a mature stance in a pressure situation. Fergus Bailey, who recently turned 20, took four wickets, while 22-year-old Patrick Martin added three - including that of the Rammy paid man - to register a convincing and deserved 112-run triumph with the visitors only surviving 13 overs.